The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

61° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Baseball set to host No. 12 Georgia

    Arizona third baseman Dillon Baird follows through on a swing during an 11-2 Wildcat win against Sacramento State on Feb. 22 at Sancet Stadium. Arizona hosts No. 12 Georgia in a three-game weekend series starting tonight at 7 at Sancet Stadium.
    Arizona third baseman Dillon Baird follows through on a swing during an 11-2 Wildcat win against Sacramento State on Feb. 22 at Sancet Stadium. Arizona hosts No. 12 Georgia in a three-game weekend series starting tonight at 7 at Sancet Stadium.

    If the last three games have taught the Arizona baseball team anything, it’s that this group can hit.

    In the last three games, Arizona (4-1) has posted double-digit runs in addition to pounding a total of 46 hits, 17 more than its opponents.

    But with No. 12 Georgia (5-0) coming into town for a three-game set starting tonight at 7 p.m. at Frank Sancet Field, the Wildcats’ offense will surely be challenged.

    In four of their first five games, the Bulldogs have held opponents to four or fewer runs.

    But for a Wildcat team coming off three straight wins, even Georgia’s staff ERA of 1.40 is not discouraging them.

    “”They’ll be a good challenge, but we’re up for a challenge,”” said shortstop Bryce Ortega. “”We’ve been hitting real well lately and staying true to our approach. After these last couple wins I think our confidence is pretty high.””

    Ortega had a huge series earlier this week in Las Vegas. The sophomore went 7-for-9 at the plate while knocking in three runs. The mid-week series only boosted Ortega’s already impressive batting average to .579 – second highest on the team behind catcher Daniel Butler who boasts a .636 average in three games of action.

    As a team, the Wildcats’ offense is off to a strong start with a team batting average of .345.

    Meanwhile the Arizona pitching staff has kept its opponents to a .281 average despite allowing seven or more runs in three of its first five games.

    “”We’ve been playing the game very soundly,”” said UA head coach Andy Lopez. “”We’ve been fairly disciplined in every aspect lately. I’ve been very pleased with the way we’ve been putting ball games together.””

    While the Wildcats have their reasons to be proud of their offensive production of late, the visiting Bulldogs have plenty to boast about themselves. They come to the desert with a team batting average of .357 and already a tally of nine home runs this year. Georgia’s average margin of victory over the first five games has been nine runs, albeit those results came against two schools, Youngstown State and Presbyterian, which are not traditionally strong.

    For the Wildcats, the series will be a test of who the hotter team is offensively.

    “”Georgia’s a really good team and (the series is) going to be a battle,”” Butler said. “”Whoever comes out swinging a little bit is going to be the one who walks away on top.

    “”It’s going to be one of those series that’s gonna be up and down all weekend, but hopefully we’ll end up on top.””

    Last season these two teams met in the season opening series in Athens, Ga. where the then No. 1-ranked Wildcats overcame an opening day loss to take the series 2-1 in cold, wet conditions.

    This year Arizona has the advantage of playing on its home turf and in unseasonably warm weather.

    While these factors do not ultimately decide a game, the statistics are in Arizona’s favor after having shown great success the past two years at home including a 25-5 record in Tucson last season.

    “”Anytime you’re at home you have the advantage,”” Butler said. “”It’s tough to go all the way across the country and play games in conditions you’re not used to.

    “”But Georgia isn’t going to let the traveling be any advantage or disadvantage. They’re going to come out and play and we’ll have to be ready for that.””

    IF YOU GO:

    Arizona (4-1) vs. No. 12 Georgia (5-0)

    Where: Sancet Stadium

    When: Friday, 7 p.m.

    Saturday, 6 p.m.

    Sunday, 12 p.m.

    Free with a CatCard

    General Admission: $6

    More to Discover
    Activate Search